National Nonprofit Day was this week, celebrated on Aug. 17 every year.
In honor of this special day, KRHD spoke with members of one local nonprofit doing good to save lives and support healing hearts the Brazos Valley Coalition on Suicide Prevention [BVCOSP].
Suicide is something that most don’t want to discuss socially. But suicidal thoughts are something many people struggle with silently. According to the National Institute for Mental Health [NIMH], it’s the second leading cause of death for teens and young adults in the United States – though it can affect people of all ages.
In Aggieland, members of BVCOSP have said 'Enough' inspired to start making a change.
"We formed the coalition in late 2018, in an effort to bring awareness to suicide prevention, and to help break the stigma for people being afraid to talk about suicide, depression, and PTSD," said Dr. Doug Vance, president of BVCOSP. The nonprofit combats suicide trends in local areas in a number of ways.
BVCOSP helps direct those in distress to mental health resources. It offers education to all people on identifying suicidal ideation in a loved one or associate. It also provides a network of support for survivors of suicide attempts, and for loved ones of suicide victims.
"I met Doug [Vance] at my son’s funeral," said Monica Palacios, board member of BVCOSP. "... I was able to attend to a meeting, and from there I have joined the board of BVCOS. I joined Doug as well as the peer support group meetings that we have. I’m able to talk about how suicide has affected my family.”
Palacios lost her son, Miguel Antonio Rodriguez, to suicide in 2019. Since his death, she has been connecting with others at the coalition and using her family’s story to help others.
"Miguel’s story has helped a young boy that was also in the same situation," said Palacios. "He was also wanting to attempt suicide. But me being in the group and knowing how to be a gatekeeper... I was able to know what to do to help this young boy, and share with him what I have learned.”
The coalition hosts monthly peer support meetings, along with numerous other events. In two weeks, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Sept. 1, the group will host an open event for the public at Promises Brazos Valley, for anyone affected by suicide or depression.
Doug Vance said he hopes to continue to bring in more resources – not only in the form of funding but also volunteer efforts and meeting support. To learn more about this nonprofit, visit their Facebook page.